Do you remember the time when you were listening to a song, and something about it hit just right? Something about the way it sounded gave you more than just goose bumps, but an ethereal feeling you could barely describe. That my friend, is called a Brain Itch.
Hey! I’m Liv, WZMB’s Music Director. I listen to a lot of music, and when I mean a lot, I mean A LOT. It brings me joy. It’s also part of my job here at WZMB to listen to new underground music every single day and upload them into our system for airplay. Because of this, I have a wide variety of music in my arsenal. Not to toot my own horn (toot) but I’m always the friend that held the aux at parties. Now here is my chance to show you guys what I listen to off the clock!
Here’s my Top 5 songs for this week:
1.“Sweet Talkin’ Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra
Let me educate you about this super unique band. I discovered this song through my dad, this was one of his favorite bands of all time. ELO is a band from the 70s, but with a magical twist. While they are upholding the typical rock sound, they incorporate orchestral pieces into their music, specifically stringed instruments. It gives off an energy that is so bright and fun, yet sweet and beautiful.
The lyrics of this song are just as great. You can tell how old this song really is, through the lyrics “I was waiting for the operator on the line.” We do not use operators for phone calls anymore! The song is pretty much about meeting this girl who was amazing and trying to find her again after losing touch. The lead singer and front man of the band, Roy Wood, whose voice is so elegant and almost sultry, really brings it all together.
ELO is known for their song “Mr. Blue Sky”, thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy; but they have a bunch of other songs I think are better, like “Evil Woman”, “Telephone Line”, and “Starlight.” I honestly believe if this song came out today rather than in the 70s, it would still be as big of a hit, and would blend right into today’s music.
2.“Retrograde” by James Blake
I discovered this song while watching a friend play the video game “Tales from the Borderlands”. While I am not going to go into the detail and lore of the game, there needs to be context. So, the condensed version is there is some political conflict going on within this corporation that is based in space (in a dystopian world, with cyborgs, robots, and other futuristic themes). A lot of bad people in charge doing some very bad things, which lead to a war between factions within the industry.
During this war, someone decided to detonate the self-destruct button that is on the spaceship, so everyone must evacuate their homes on the ship. The main characters are trying to escape the tyrant trying to kill everyone, and one of the friends ends up sacrificing his life to make sure everyone else gets to safety. Everything about this song is literally perfect for the opening scene of this arc in the story, from the lyrics to the musicality. Whenever there are lyrics that say, “Ignore everybody else, we’re alone now”, or “And you’re friends are gone, and your friends won’t come” there are scenes of the characters mourning their lost friend or their now destroyed home, or the scene of the sacrificed friend dying.
Everything just fits the imagery and musical cues for the song and the game, and both are incredible forms of entertainment.
3.“Collide” by Tiana Major9 and EARTHGANAG
I know I have always said I listen to a lot of every kind of genre, but to be honest I don’t listen to a lot of RNB. This song is one of the very, very few exceptions.
This song starts out with a slow and steady electric guitar and synth melody; nothing quick or intricate, just enough to get the vibe established. Then a duet between Tiana and EARTHGANG start, and it is the most romantic concept ever. The lyrics describe this intense and true love between two individuals, using amazing metaphors and descriptions. They use the phrases “When we collide, it’s a beautiful disaster, when I crash into you.” These two lovers do not need to use words to explain their love for each other, just their body language and movements are enough to tell their story and passion for each other. I came across this song for the first time, while working on homework. I was in bed relaxing, and it came on through a Spotify radio.
It was one of those moments that gave me chills and a brain itch of course, but it also struck a chord in my head that inspired me to write some lyrics down. If a song is capable of doing that to make you become creative and that imaginative yourself, then it is doing its job.
4.“My Ego Dies At The End” by Jensen McRae
This song has a guaranteed spot on my Top 100 for my Spotify Yearly Wrapped, even though I only heard it for the first time a few weeks ago. Jensen is such a creative and introspective soul, impressing me with every single one of her songs. She is not afraid of calling herself out in her songs, sharing her mental health struggles and her flaws as a person.
Today, most songs are about breakups, toxic exes, or any other topic relating to love. But this song, along with the rest of the album is about her and her problems that she has with herself. I commend her for this kind of writing because not a lot of people are willing to talk poorly of themselves. Sure, there are songs about being sorry for the way they treated their ex-lover. But Jensen, specifically in this song tells us about her problems with herself, and how she needs to grow as a person in general and not just thorough relationships.
I think this is a very brave and vulnerable thing to do, and through song, is already making great progress. She has such an angelic voice that will soothe anyone who hears it, so this is a definite recommendation to add to your playlist.
5. “Coconut Perfume” by Ray Laurél
This song is really cool because it has a combination of different genres throughout the songs. The lyrics themselves have a pop vibe to them, being super catchy, basic, and easy to catch on to. The melody and instruments, especially in the chorus, I feel is more of the indie direction.
The simple guitar sound is what captures that feeling for me. The voice by the singer himself seems like it is more RNB, because he has a very breathy and soothing voice. There is nothing to complex about this song, which I guess that is why it is so amazing. Ray isn’t trying too hard in this song, and even though there are many genres incorporated in the song, it blends together really well. Coconut Perfume reminds me of another song called “Sugar” by Brockhampton.
This is another group with songs have the same vibe, RNB with hints of pop, and Sugar even has some hip hop elements to it. I love it when artists don’t stick to one genre and branch out their creativity into other realms of music. It just shows variety and makes for amazing music.